Brighton transportation company The Big Lemon has announced plans to make their green buses even greener. Although their bright yellow biodiesel buses are already fairly low impact given that they are powered by recycled cooking oil, the company is teaming up with renewable energy enterprise Brighton Energy Cooperative to develop new zero-emissions vehicles powered by the sun.

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The Big Lemon, a Community Interest Company (CIC), is planning to make the switch to electric vehicles. Their 10 current yellow buses can’t be converted, but The Big Lemon has started converting a few other buses. The solar energy required will be sourced from a rooftop solar array on one of their depots that will comprise 120 solar panels with capacity to generate 30 kilowatt-hours of energy. According to The Big Lemon, that would be the equivalent of “1.8 million kettle boils.” The converted buses will run on Route 52 between the city center of Brighton and Woodingdean.

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The Big Lemon managing director Tom Druitt estimates the company could save about 20,000 pounds each year, which is close to $25,000, because of lower maintenance and fuel costs. He told The Guardian it’s easier for The Big Lemon to try out the electric bus project due to their “independence, background, and philosophy.” They encourage local participation, and aim to work closely with the community. CICs are a UK company classification for “people who want to conduct a business for community benefit, and not purely for profit.”

The M&S Community Energy Fund, an organization offering grants for community renewable energy projects, shortlisted The Big Lemon. People had the opportunity to pledge money to their project and vote for them to win, and out of a target of 12,500 pounds, or just over $15,000, they raised 13,315 pounds, or more than $16,000.

The Big Lemon has loftier goals beyond their Brighton electric and solar project. With Brighton Energy Cooperative, they also hope to “bring zero emissions buses to communities across the UK by 2030.”

+ The Big Lemon

+ Brighton Energy Cooperative

Via The Guardian

Images via The Big Lemon CIC Facebook